Temporary suspension of premium H1B Visa Processing

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it is temporarily suspending all in-person local offices’ activities until April 1, including permanent residence interviews, biometric prior arrangements, naturalization procedures, asylum considerations, amongst other duties that involve contact with the general public.

The decision comes on the heels of the global spread of COVID-19, a Coronavirus that began to first spread in the city of Wuhan, China, and has since spread to most other countries of the world, leaving thousands of deaths in its trail.

The decision to suspend became of significant essence as the world unites to fight the further spread of the disease through repeated calls for the prohibition of the congregation people in their large numbers. The whole essence of the probation is to reduce incidents of person-to-person transmission through body droplets and conveyance of infected air.

USCIS Temporarily Suspends H-1B Premium Processing

Just as well, petitioners filing cap-subject H-1B petitions for FY 2021 will now be unable to demand premium processing of their cap-subject petitions when the Service begins accepting the same online by the 1st of April, 2020. This is the implication of the temporary suspension handed down by the USCIS on the 16th of March, 2020. So, pending the time the service resumes premium processing for the specified petition, the USs’Immigration Service will reject any Form I-907 filed alongside a cap-subject H-1B Form I-129.

The implication of the suspension, as espoused in a release by the USCIS, is that premium processing for H-1B cap-subject petitions filed for the Fiscal Year 2021 will not be available for those who so wish, when the Immigration Service starts accepting online H-1B cap-subject petitions on April 1.

Like it has done in the past few years, the USCIS will continue premium processing in a two-way approach during the Fiscal Year 2021 cap season to better manage premium processing applications. The first phase includes FY 2021 cap-subject H1-B petitions, including those who may qualify for advanced degree exemption, asking for a change in status from F-1 nonimmigrant. The second phase covers all other FY 2021 cap-subject petitions.

The first phase shall commence no later than May 27, 2020, after appropriate notification is given to the public. Premium processing applicants in this category must select the appropriate answer ‘b’ for Item 4, in Part 2 of Form I-129, while indicating ‘F-1’ for Item 5, ‘Current Nonimmigrant Status’ in Part 3 of Form I-129, to qualify to file Form I-907 as part of this first phase.

For the second phase, the earliest date that the USCIS will resume premium processing, is June 29, 2020. Petitioners filing will be able to upgrade to premium processing when they file Form I-907. A confirmed date for this phase shall also be forwarded to the general public as events unfold.

Regular vs Premium H-1B Processing

Essentially, the USCIS H-1B premium processing offers expedited and fast processing for non-immigrant seeking to work in the United States. The service specifically guarantees and assures fast processing of this visa within 15 calendar days for people who choose to use the service. In the event that the processing isn’t done with 15 calendar days, the premium processing fee is refunded to the applicant while expedited processing continues nonetheless.

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  • March 26th, 2020
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